Evening Mass

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Sarah Law.                                                                                                            

Evening Mass

That Sunday, I don’t go to take the sacrament
when the congregation lines up soul by soul –

still, I offer prayers in my own way: breathing in
the quietened air, its hinterland of something more,

sitting on my bench in the turning world. I keep
custody of the eyes; confine my hands from moving

and my pen from uttering curves or loose words:
the communicants return like a flock of birds.

Soon the Mass is over, the priest gone. One by
one, people stand, and – briefly genuflecting – leave.

Stuffing a parish leaflet in my pocket I stand up,
turn once beside the pew, drop on my knee

to thank this light-and-shadow place, where
each moment has a pulse, and for one split second

the world is transfused with wing and white –
and I cannot see, or speak, or get back up.


Sarah Law lives in London UK and is a tutor for The Open University and elsewhere. She edits the online journal Amethyst Review for new writing engaging with the sacred.

Print this entry

About the Author

Tim Bete, ICL Poetry Curator To submit poetry to be considered for the Catholic Poetry Room, visit our submission guidelines page or CatholicPoetry.org.

Tim Bete is Poetry Editor for IntegratedCatholicLife.org and always searching for the best Catholic poetry from today's poets as well as those of the past.

Tim's poetry has appeared in Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, The Asketerion, and the Poet and Contemplative Blog of the Discalced Carmelite Friars (Province of St. Therese). His first book of poetry is The Raw Stillness of Heaven, of which one reviewer wrote, “If you are Catholic and think that you do not like poetry, this book will change your mind.”

Tim is former director of the national writers' workshop at the University of Dayton—a Catholic, Marianist university. He's a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS) and often trades poems with his oldest daughter, who is a Dominican Sister. He says she's the best writer in the family.

Tim's writing has also appeared in several editions of the Amazing Grace anthology series (Ascension Press), theChristian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest magazine, and numerous parenting magazines. His latest book is Wanderings of an Ordinary Pilgrim

Connect with Tim on:

Author Archive Page